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Stop it! Stop Choosing Certain Times to Friend God Because He Does Something For You When YOU Want. God Knows Best. He Already Got It Handled!

Forgive me, it’s long but I been thinking….and this may bless someone.

When we encounter struggles in life that seem difficult to overcome, oftentimes we become desensitized to its effects because we fail to identify the root of the problem. Convinced defeat is part of the norm and our lives will end in disaster. We keep going in circles with the same problem time and time again, bewildered, wondering what happened, why nothing changed, why am I still struggling? Asking God, “When will this all be over?” Isn’t it funny how surprised we are by the struggle? Watch this. Take note. There’s a lesson. Nothing should surprise you when the hand of God brings you through it.

Each and every one of us struggle with something. Believe it or not, struggles are supposed to happen. The difference in how we handle it will depend on how we respond to it. But do you ever notice sometimes when your struggle does not change, you are still surprised by it?

Struggle with bills? Isn’t it common sometimes? Sometimes isn’t there more month than money in your account? Struggle with people disappointing, leaving, or hating on you? Doesn’t it happen from time to time? Isn’t there a season, reason, or a lifetime for people to enter or leave your life? Struggle losing material possessions? Aren’t they temporary? So why are you surprised at it? Don’t be. Get a handle on it. It’s called life and it happens.

“…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). If you will humble yourself under the hand of God, he will elevate you in his timing. Oftentimes when we are going through trials, we really do not have a clue as to how God is moving in our lives. We can’t see it but it is all for a reason. The hand of God guides, disciplines, refines, and instructs us. The more we recognize it the less surprised we will be by struggles that really are necessary for our spiritual development.

Why then do we cherry pick the hand of God based on certain conditions? “I like the hand of God when he gives me provision but I don’t when I struggle and can’t pay my bills. I like the hand of God when he works out my situation immediately but I don’t when I have to learn patience and wait on him. I like the hand of God when He gives me the desires of my heart but I don’t when I struggle and I’m down to nothing. I like the hand of God when prayers are answered but I don’t when I have to be pray without ceasing, read the word of God daily, and be consistent in my obedience.”

Stop it! Stop choosing certain times when God is your friend because he does something for you when YOU want it, and recognize the hand of God is available to help you help yourself. He got the parts you can’t handle, handled!

Here’s an AHA moment…there’s value in suffering. How? Glad you asked. It brings us closer to God and prepares us to be compassionate to others and do the work of God and His kingdom. Yes, while we don’t enjoy trials or struggles, they are necessary to help us grow. In fact they are required. Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials (James 1:2), because they are valuable to your spiritual growth.

The next time you find yourself struggling, ask God for wisdom to guide you and to help you learn the lesson for whatever it is he brings you through, in his timing, with his hands. It may be years down the line before you recognize why God brought you through that situation. But nothing should surprise you when you see the hand of God. Struggles are a necessary part of the journey. God just wants to know what took you so long. He’s surprised you didn’t come to him sooner.

Be blessed! -JD

Romans 8:17-18 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (NIV)

Stay Woke! Keep Watch. Remain Vigilant. Watch out for Judases and Peters.

Stay woke! Who is your Judas, your Peter? Ones who have betrayed you or those who have denied you? Were you surprised by the betrayal or the denial? Did it hurt your heart? Were you disappointed in those who say they are devoted to Christ but their claims are meaningless when they are tested in the ordeal of persecution?

I ask these questions because inquiring minds want to know. How do you handle a Judas or a Peter in your life when you least expect it and are surprised by it?

God never ceases to amaze me. For some reason as I woke to begin my daily Bible reading in the Book of Luke, Chapter 22, I was led to Mark 14, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, The Servant. As I’m reading the chapter, I noticed some similarities to the conversation I had with God moments earlier. I had a revelation. After my talk with God, I had a revelation and said out loud, “Stay Woke. Keep your eyes open. Don’t be surprised when people show you who they are. Believe them.”

Let me digress. When I woke this morning I started talking to God. I explained to him the difficulty I am having with the element of surprise. Because I don’t like surprises. I don’t deal well with it. I want to know everything there is to know right in that moment and not be surprised by anything. I explained to him how disappointed I am in people who surprise me when they show me who they are and I don’t want to believe it because of who I think they are when fooled by who they really are.

For the past five days I rose 3:00 am or 4:00 am in the morning wondering, asking God, “Why am I woke this early?! Today, I learned he was trying to tell me something. I wasn’t paying attention because my mind was heavily focused on the past event of the untimely passing of my father two and half weeks ago, of which I was surprised by. Just as I was with the untimely passing of my mother 2+ years ago. And there it was, the element of “Surprise” staring me in my face. It occurred to me God is dealing with me in this area. Okay God. I’m paying attention.

In this life there will be some Judases and Peters who will either betray you at your most vulnerable stage when you are going through what seems insurmountable to overcome or they will deny you in times of great stress only to leave you vulnerable to temptation. Even when your spirit is willing, but your body is weak (Mark 14:38).

Good news! Jesus explains in Mark 14:33 – 38; 40, 41 how to resist. “Keep watch – stay awake and be morally vigilant. Pray to God – this is how you maintain vigilance. Seek support of friends and loved ones – this is how you build up your resistance and help others. Focus on the purpose God has given you – this is how you do God’s will and not your own.” That’s some great advice!

Nothing in this life should surprise you. No circumstance, situation, person, place, or thing. When the surprise comes, even if your spirit is willing and the flesh may be weak, don’t fall into the trap of temptation. Don’t let the element of surprise fool you. Stay focused. Keep your mind right. Do as Jesus taught you. Pray to God. Seek friends and loved ones who support you. Accept it for what it is and move on. It’s life.

Surprises are part of the process. So are disappointments. Don’t become consumed by it. You may become overwhelmed when in distress or stressed.

STAY WOKE, KEEP WATCH, REMAIN VIGILANT!

Be blessed! – JD

Mark 14: 37 “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (NIV)

Why You Salty? Have You Counted the Cost of Commitment to Jesus? Are You Willing and Able? What Cost Are You Counting?

Boy, I tell you when you go to God and tell him all your troubles he is listening and will help you, if you let him. How do I know? Because yesterday I was on the brink of giving up, hanging by the thread on a “do me wrong” cliff and told God I no longer wanted to be a Christian. He laughed at me and said, “My dear child I understand but that will not change who I am.”

I cried out to God like I had never before because I was desperate and needed him. This morning he answered my prayers immediately. Forgive me for the long post. Can you relate?

For reasons I can never explain, I woke this morning with an instinct to read my Bible unlike months before when I didn’t have no desire whatsoever to read the word of God and He took me to the Book of Luke, chapter 14. So many answers to my questions were made available and God gave me a revelation! I finally figured out why I am having so much trouble in my spiritual walk and not understanding what it means to be a Christian.

While reading the Book of Luke chapter 14 I saw this question in the notes, “How salty are you?” and I asked myself, “Joy, why are you salty?” “Did you count the cost of commitment to Jesus?” No, I never did. I gave my life to him and never questioned the cost of what it took to be a follower of Christ.

“How salty are you?” My answer will astound you. I am salty but not in the way you would expect. I have been frustrated, mad, and irritated with myself and with God because it didn’t feel like he was with me while going through what felt like too many trials. I took my frustrations out on myself and starting looking at my past mistakes that are gone and I can do nothing about. I started having a pity party all by myself and wanted someone, anyone to feel sorry for me. Yesterday, I realized this was and will not work for me.

What do you know about salt? Well, salt loses its flavor when it becomes wet and then dries, leaving a tasteless residue. Much like us. When we blend in with the world and are in the world and not of it, we lose our saltiness and become worthless. This was me. For months I started losing myself in the process focusing on the wrong things and not the right things of God and couldn’t figure out why. I was miserable.

See, for months I have been in a downward spiral of emotions and feelings about life, the loss of my mother, and being a Christian. I found myself daily telling God, “I don’t want to be a Christian anymore because it’s too hard.” I chose to settle to average. I wasn’t willing to plan, sacrifice, and keep my commitment to Christ’s kingdom. I failed God daily in representing Christ in the world. I kept looking at why all the wrong things were happening in my life. I took my focus off God and started looking at my circumstances, heavily. While I know Jesus paid the price, I never looked at the cost of living my life as a believer.

Have you ever never counted the cost of your commitment to Christ? I have. I never counted the cost of what it takes to be a Christian. I just became one. I never counted the cost of what it takes to live a Christian life. I failed miserably at living one. I never counted the cost of what it takes to run a business. I had an idea and ran with it never estimating the cost to successfully run a business. I never counted the cost of what it takes to publish a book. I just wrote what took twelve years to publish but never imagine the cost, people, and things I would lose in the process. I never counted the cost of what it takes to suffer the consequences of my decisions. Simply put, I NEVER COUNTED THE COST of my life as a Christian!

God never said we would not have trouble. He said he would be with us and never leave us when we have trouble. It cost to be a follower of Christ. It will not be trouble-free. You are going to lose some things; friends, family, and material possessions. I lost all of these. Friends left me. I lost all my possessions and some family too. I met with disappointment. I survived it.

You may lose your social status, your financial standing or wealth. Lost that too. The people I thought would support my dreams didn’t and the ones I thought mattered failed me. You will have to give up control of some things; your time, your money, or your career. Gave that up too. Lost my job, my health was affected, and my money has been funny ever since. All for the cost of my commitment to Jesus.
Anything we do in life comes with a price, at a cost. But must we never forget, Jesus paid a hefty price when he gave his life and died on the cross for us that we may have eternal life. Now ain’t that love!!

Be blessed! – JD

Matthew 5:13-15 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (ESV)

The Devil Doesn’t Fight Fair. He’s Consistent. So…You Got This. Have Audacious Faith. Go Gangster, Go Hard For God. Drive The Devil Crazy!

The devil is a liar! Sometimes you gotta go gangster on him and go hard for God! Be on fire for God! Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. Speak those things that are not as though they are. In your busyness, get your priorities straight. Be about your Father’s business.

Distractions can become mind blowing and will cause us to lose our witness for God. We start thinking about our situation, circumstances, and all the things we see in this world that really do not have a thing to do with us. The battle is not ours, it’s the Lord’s. He will take care of it. He promise.

If we profess God is in control of everything in the earth, why do we worry or lose faith? We begin to lose the very things the world didn’t give to us, joy, peace, and the peace of God. Then we wonder why nothing in our life is going right. When in fact it is if we look to the source, God, and don’t take our eyes off him even for a second.

The mind is the devil’s playground. When he pressures you to come out and play, rebuke that spirit! The joy you have the world didn’t give it to you. The world can’t take it away. Stay in the faith.

When you find yourself going in circles, depressed, weary, and distracted from the promises of God, get your mind right. Go back to what’s familiar. The Word of God never changes. It’s available to you. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is always, always with you.

No matter what comes your way, press, press, press towards the mark of the High calling even when you don’t feel like it. Never give up. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop meditating on the word of God. Don’t stop doing what he’s called you to do because you are so frustrated and want to give up. It’s just a trick of the enemy.

Yes, there will be times when it is absolutely necessary to go in your prayer closet or your private space and call on God. Spend alone time with him and him alone and move from the distractions of social media and all things that will divert your attention from the right things of God. Do not set your eyes on anything that is worthless (Psalm 101:3).

God has a plan and you are a part of it. Keep your mind stayed on Jesus! Go gangster, go hard for God. Put that audacious faith to work. The devil is the father of lies and the truth ain’t in him. Believe it’s already done! God said it. I believe it. That settles it!

Be blessed! – JD

1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (ESV).

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